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All In: ESPN Poker Club

3 Mar 2005

(PRESS RELEASE) -- ESPN today announced ESPN Poker Club, a multi-faceted poker initiative that will reach across many divisions of the Worldwide Leader In Sports, including ESPN.com, ESPN Wireless, ESPN Books and ESPN Enterprises, the company's brand extension and new business development arm.

The initiative kicks off today with the new ESPN Poker Club on ESPN.com, which includes the site's new free online poker game. The first 11 weeks of play on ESPN.com will be exclusively devoted to the Degree® All-In Poker Challenge, with the tournament winner earning a seat in the Harrah's 2005 World Series of Poker courtesy of Degree®.

In coming months the initiative will also launch a wireless poker game; a poker-related book from ESPN Books by syndicated poker columnist Steve Rosenbloom; DVD's of the 2004 World Series of Poker and the ESPN Original Entertainment series TILT; and a line of high-end poker-related consumer products.

ESPN Poker Club On ESPN.com

Beginning today, poker fans will find an entire section of ESPN.com dedicated to the game they love – including a free online poker game for users over the age of 18. Created by game developer Micropower, the game allows poker aficionados of every skill level to choose from six different games: Texas Hold'Em, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Hi/Lo, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo and 5 Card Stud. After an initial software download, ESPN.com users can compete against other ESPN Poker Club players at online poker tables in single- and multi-table tournaments.

In addition, ESPN Poker Club on ESPN.com will feature a robust collection of editorial content including "How To Play" information on each of the games offered, tips for playing winning poker, answers to frequently asked poker questions, and exclusive columns from ESPN's "Jackpot" Jay Lovinger, poker guru Phil Gordon and more.

The Degree® All-In Poker Challenge

The 11-week Degree® All-In Poker Challenge on ESPN.com is a series of weekly qualifying tournaments that lead to a final 500-player tournament in May, with the winner earning a seat in the Harrah's 2005 World Series of Poker courtesy of Degree®. The Degree® All-In Poker Challenge is the only completely free way online to earn a seat in the Harrah's 2005 World Series of Poker.

Each Sunday at 2 p.m. ET for 10 weeks, ESPN.com will hold a Sunday Qualifying Tournament for the Degree® All-In Poker Challenge that will include all players that qualified in the week prior. The top 50 players each Sunday will earn a seat in the Finals tournament beginning May 15 at 2 p.m. ET. The winner of the Finals tournament will earn the seat in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas in June.

Each week, players will have four ways to earn a spot into the weekly Sunday Qualifying tournament:

· Play 750 hands during the week from any combination of the games offered;

· Win five single-table tournaments (10 players, available at any time)

· Win one multi-table tournament (30 players, start every 20 minutes)

· Finish high enough in the rankings of a Big Play tournament (one per day, 8 p.m. ET )*

* For every 40 players, one top-ranked player qualifies. Example: if 200 people play in the tournament, the top five players qualify. If there are 320 players, the top eight players qualify.

In order to play in the Degree® All-In Poker Challenge fans must be 21 years old, download the ESPN.com online poker game and register a player profile. All players will begin with 1000 points worth of chips, and will be eligible to get more chips twice each day.

 
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